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On Sunday, February 13, 2022, the Los Angeles Rams played the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, California. The Rams came up with a clutch touchdown late in the fourth quarter followed by a great defensive play from Aaron Donald. The final score was 23-20 Rams.
Although the final score was close, it doesn’t tell the full story. From the first half, fans thought it would be a high scoring game, considering the score was 17-3, Rams. The Bengals scratched their way back into the game in the third quarter, propelled by a huge touchdown pass from Joe Burrow to Tee Higgins during the first play of the quarter. After a clutch touchdown catch made by Cooper Kupp in the closing minutes, and a great defensive sack later in the game made by Aaron Donald, the Rams ended up securing the game. This was also the franchise’s second Super Bowl title.
There were a few key takeaways from the game.
The Bengals couldn’t stop Cooper Kupp or Odell Beckham, Jr.
Odell Beckham, Jr. had made a few catches, a touchdown and had 52 yards in total receiving in the first half. Although he got hurt early in the game, there’s no doubt that if he was healthy the Rams would have been looking for him all night. If he stayed healthy, he probably would have had over 100 yards total. As for Cooper Kupp, who got off to a slow start in the first half of the game, he woke up in the second half and not only scored the game winning touchdown, but made a few key plays to secure the game. Unsurprisingly, he took home the Super Bowl MVP trophy.
The Rams had a tough time running the ball.
Although the Rams took home the trophy, they struggled to run the ball. Cam Akers had 21 yards on 13 carries, Darrel Henderson had 7 yards on 4 carries and Sony Michel tallied up 2 yards on 2 carries. The Rams ended with 30 total rushing yards on 13 carries. Although the most fun part about football is throwing and catching the football, teams have to be able to run the ball efficiently at the NFL level. Even though the Bengals defense never fully capitalized on this, the Rams need to work on this over the offseason.
Aaron Donald led the Rams on defense.
The Rams defense was unstoppable in the third quarter, having five of their seven sacks of the game in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter the Rams held the Bengals to scoring no points and barely getting within the 20 yard line. Von Miller and Aaron Donald both had two of those sacks, while Leonard Floyd, A’Shawn Robinson and Ernest Jones had one sack each. Aaron Donald was the real defensive MVP of the game. Although it was a great defensive effort from the Rams defensive line as a whole, Aaron Donald was the real defensive MVP of the super bowl. Aaron Donald is a 3-time defensive player of the year and is known to be a threat on defense. He had two sacks and one of those sacks sealed the game for the Rams late in the fourth with a minute to go. Although there have been reports that Aaron Donald is considering retiring in the next few weeks, he has shown that he is a great asset to the Rams defense.
Even though the Rams won at the last minute, they still showed that they were the better team.
At the professional level in any sport the mental game becomes as important as the physical game. The Rams comeback late in the fourth quarter showed why the Rams won the game. They showed tenacity, resilience and the willingness to not give up. The Rams could have very easily just given up and accepted the fate of losing, but because of Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford’s leadership, the Rams pulled through in the end. That is what leading by example means, if a player can do something great, show everybody else how it’s done, and lead by example, then the rest of the team will follow that suit.